Nothing says Fourth of July in Maine like sipping a cocktail on a sunny perch overlooking the shimmering sea.

We asked bartenders at four classic Maine inns to share their ideas and recipes for cooling summer drinks that will also help you celebrate the holiday in style. Whether you are relaxing on the veranda, enjoying a picnic with friends or just waiting for the fireworks to begin, these creative concoctions will get you in a red, white and blue kind of mood.

So declare your independence from the same old boring beers and unimaginative drinks, settle back in your Adirondack chair, breathe in that salty air and enjoy something new.

Mike Worley works behind the bar at Inn by the Sea in Cape Elizabeth, just steps from Crescent Beach State Park and the Atlantic Ocean.

He’s already developed several summer cocktails for the inn, including the S’moretini – a mixture of vodka, Godiva chocolate liqueur and Baileys Irish Cream in a glass rimmed with chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.

But Worley took our request to heart and developed an entirely new cocktail just for the Fourth of July. The red, white and blue “Old Glory by the Sea” is another whimsical take on childhood summer fun. But instead of paying homage to s’mores around a campfire, he was inspired by creamsicles slurped on the beach.

The cocktail turned out so well, the inn will be adding it to its menu for the Fourth.

The drink’s red layer is a mixture of grenadine and strawberry-infused rum that Worley already had on hand to make his signature strawberry mojitos. Blue curacao, mixed with vanilla vodka to help it float, seemed to be the only choice for the blue layer.

The white layer was the trickiest. After experiments with vanilla vodka and steamed milk from the inn’s espresso machine, Worley settled on a dollop of whipped cream.

A sip of Old Glory By the Sea elicited thoughts of cake for one taster. For another, it evoked memories of those red, white and blue bomb popsicles sold by ice cream trucks.

One thing’s for sure: This layered cocktail confection will definitely impress your guests.

3/4 ounce blue curacao
1/4 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce strawberry-infused rum
1/2 ounce grenadine
Whipped cream
Fresh strawberry for garnish

Mix the blue curacao and vanilla vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Pour the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
Mix the strawberry-infused rum with the grenadine in a shaker with ice. Using a teaspoon, slowly decant the red mixture into the blue layer. The red layer will sink to the bottom of the glass.

Top with whipped cream and garnish with a fresh strawberry on the side of the glass.

Serves 1.

The Chebeague Island Inn is known for its grand front porch overlooking the water, the perfect spot to relax in a wicker chair with liquid refreshments and watch the boats go by.

“At least on this island, it’s the ultimate lookout spot if you are interested in a sunset or just sipping a drink in the midafternoon, just taking in the sun and everything,” said Brad Martin, the head bartender at the inn.

If you’re staying in, Martin can mix up a Chebeague Island Mojito, made with a white peach-infused simple syrup that provides a subtle twist on the popular cocktail.

Going on a Fourth of July picnic? Try Martin’s easy and flavorful version of a white wine spritzer that uses fresh Maine strawberries to make it really feel like summer.

8 ounces Veramonte sauvignon blanc wine
4 ounces strawberry citrus syrup
Splash of soda water
8 ice cubes
Fresh strawberries for garnish

To make strawberry citrus syrup, dissolve 1/4 cup sugar over 1 pint of macerated fresh Maine strawberries in a strainer over a bowl. Strain out strawberries and add juice from two lemons.

For the cocktail, muddle the ice cubes in a shaker glass and put shavings in a white wine glass. Add the Veramonte sauvignon blanc. Add strawberry citrus syrup and a splash of soda water. Slice fresh strawberries end to end, and add 4 slices to cocktail glass for garnish.

Serves 2.

In May, Eric Dore, bartender at the Black Point Inn on Prouts Neck, developed a summer cocktail that has become one of the inn’s bestsellers.

It also happens to be red, white and blue.

The Prouts Neck Cocktail is similar to a Blue Hawaiian, but Dore took out the cream of coconut liqueur and the coconut juice to simplify the drink.

The cocktail is the blue-green color of the sea, and pouring in the pineapple juice creates a little “sea foam” at the top of the glass. Add a cherry for a splash of red, and you have one very patriotic cocktail.

“It’s very simple, very easy and very quick to make,” Dore said.

The Prouts Neck Cocktail is not too strong and not too sweet, so it’s easy to envision having more than one. That’s the way Dore intended it.

“Both Malibu rum and blue curacao are very low in alcohol content,” he said. “Most of your rums and vodkas are 80 proof. Malibu’s down to 40 percent, so it’s real low and light in alcohol content, and the fact that it’s cut with pineapple juice, it’s a great drink that you can actually have two or three and really not feel the repercussions.”

2 ounces Malibu Coconut Rum
1 1/2 ounces Dekuyper Blue Curacao
Pineapple juice
Fresh pineapple slice

Mix the rum and blue curacao in a shaker with ice and pour into a tall glass. Top it off with the pineapple juice. Garnish with a slice of fresh pineapple and a cherry.

Serves 1.

The Inn on Peaks Island has a great view of the city of Portland. It’s also a prime spot for watching the fireworks.

Fred Hayman, general manager of the inn and a former longtime bartender, also took our challenge to heart and developed an entirely new drink that he is now planning to add to the inn’s menu.

“There’s already a Long Island Iced Tea (on the menu),” he said, “so a Peaks Island Iced Tea seemed to make sense.”

Like some of the other drinks, Hayman’s Peaks Island Iced Tea also pays homage to the red, white and blue spirit of July 4 – sort of.

The blue in the drink is provided by a Maine blueberry puree. The red is a strawberry garnish, “and the straw was white,” Hayman said. “That was the best I could do.”

1/2 ounce Bacardi Light Rum
1/2 ounce Mt. Gay Barbados Rum
Dash simple syrup
Dash Maine blueberry puree
1/2 lime, squeezed
Fresh strawberry

Rim a tall glass with sugar. Combine first 5 ingredients in the glass. Top off with the Sprite and garnish with the berry.

Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: [email protected]